24 Bearden students accepted to Boys, Girls State programs

Rising seniors are headed to Boys and Girls State this summer to learn the rights and responsibilities of an American citizen.

Sponsored by American Legion, boys will go to Tennessee Tech in Cookeville the week of May 25-31. Students will follow a military-based schedule and receive training that ranges from government protocol to medical emergencies.

Girls state takes place at Lipscomb University in Nashville the same week. The American Legion Auxiliary provides girls with the chance to form and run mock governments and learn leadership skills.

Applicants are accepted into these programs based on their academic backgrounds, community involvement, extracurricular activities, and school recommendations. Bearden is sending 10 boys and 14 girls to participate.

Among those accepted, several received scholarships: Taylor Blaine, Andrew Bumpas, William Dickau, Jake Grayson, Adam Hasan, Tyler Rasch, Lindsey Adorante, Kierstyn Freeman, Morgan Johnson, Anastasia Mitchell, and Marissa Tarantino.

Mr. Mark Fleenor has recently taken on the responsibility of this program after Mrs. Kathleen Greenwell retired.

“It’s quite an honor [for students] to get in and be accepted by the faculty of the school,” Mr. Fleenor said. “It instills in them a wonderful sense of pride in themselves and what they can do in the community.”

Many of the students going heard about the program from older siblings or friends.

“One of my friends who is a senior this year went to Girls State, and she came back raving about how great it was,” Johnson said.

Johnson said she has thought it would be cool to go since she was a kid and that she is excited about meeting new people.

Mitchell’s older brother inspired her to go, and she has also heard good things about Girls State through others.

“I think I will learn a lot about government and how to communicate well with people I have just met,” she said.

Bumpas says he expects the experience will help him with a future technical career.

“I think it will be very interesting to really learn how the government works with its many different workers and employees and how they work to connect and be a team,” he said. “I am very excited to go, and the group of guys who also got selected are great and definitely deserve this opportunity.”

Mr. Fleenor said he has seen the success and positive impact this program has on students.

“Boys and Girls State, I know, has that kind of effect on students, to continue striving to do better and be as good as they can be,” he said.